If you own an older home, chances are it suffered water damage at some point since its original construction. A home that is over 30 years old is three times more likely to have a major plumbing problem than newer homes, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. Another study performed by the IBHS concluded that 75% of water heaters will fail within the first 10 years of operation. Dealing with water damage can be a real headache so we wanted to include some tips for spotting water damage that you can utilize when looking into buying an older home.
How to Spot Water Damage
- Feel for soft spots. Do you feel the floor sag when you walk into the bathroom? Are there visible water stains around the toilet or bathtub? These are common indicators that there has been a water leak and the wood could be rotting.
- Look for rust. If the tank on your water heater is rusted is probably has a slow leak. You should also check the water heater for sediment build up since the previous owner may have neglected to flush it on a yearly basis.
- Keep an eye out for warped or cracked flooring. Do you feel any cracking or warping when you walk along the tile and wood floors? If so, this could be a sign of existing water damage. Rises and bumps underneath the carpet can also be a tell-tale sign of damage from water.
- Run the water. Turn on the water and check to make sure it is clear. Listen carefully to see if you hear spurts of air coming out. If the water is any color other than clear and you hear air spurts, chances are there is a serious plumbing problem that needs to be dealt with immediately.
- Look up! Unscrupulous homeowners might try to cover up signs of water damage instead of fixing the problem. Look for quick repairs made to ceilings, such as new, heavy paint that might be covering up telltale brown water stains.
- Step outside. Walk outside the house and look at the foundation. Is the yard landscaped for proper drainage, or does water pool next to the house? Check outlet hoses and drains if there are any, and make sure they are in good working order.
- Inspect the roof. Missing shingles, pools of water, damaged flashing, or signs of wind damage could make your roof vulnerable to leaks. Have the roof and attic thoroughly inspected before taking the plunge and buying that house.
Protect your investment! Before you buy that old house, check it over for water damage. Your bank account will be glad you did.